Musings on Leadership, Performance, and Customer Experience

Is performance a function of an ongoing attunement to the ‘truth’ of the situation?

It occurs to me that, all else being equal, the probability of the airliners successful arrival/landing at San Francisco is a function of the the pilots attunement with reality: that which is and is not.  Let’s make this concrete by considering some examples:

  • If as the pilot, I have access to the gap between the actual flight and the flight path which is necessary to get the airliner to San Francisco, and I do make the necessary course corrections, on an ongoing basis, then I increase the probability of safe-timely arrival.
  • If as the pilot, I become aware that there is a serious problem with one of the engines and I can accurately determine which engine it is, and I do shut down the troublesome engine as/when it becomes necessary to shut that engine down then I increase the probability of safe-timely arrival.
  • If as the pilot, I become aware that there is a security lockdown at San Francisco airport and that the airliner is running out of fuel, and I head for the nearest alternative airport (say LA) then I increase the probability of safe-timely arrival.

You get the idea: the probability of success in this venture is a function of the pilot/captain’s ability to ensure that ‘the actions that are critical to the safe arrival of the airliner’ at San Francisco are in attune with, on an ongoing basis, with what is so (and is not so) as this impacts the airliner.  Furthermore, this attunement can be broken down into:

  • an accurate-timely grasp of what is so – the ‘truth’ of the situation; and
  • taking appropriate-timely action, on an ongoing basis, to ensure attunement with this reality.

I ask you to notice the following as regards the very structure of this game of commercial flying:

  • that which we are talking about applies irrespective of who/what is piloting the airliner. And what shape the airliner takes;
  • every crew member who values his life finds him/herself called to pass on information that helps the pilot to be attuned to the truth of the situation and take the appropriate action;
  • every sane pilot (one who values his life) is motivated to be open to and seek knowledge of the ‘truth of the situation’ and take the action that the situation calls for given the commitment to arrive safely at the desired destination;
  • lack of sufficient attunement to the the truth of the situation would affect the lives of all including the pilot/captain – even if the pilot/captain could ‘parachute’ out (and leave all the others to their fate) his live would be affected sufficiently negatively that parachuting out does not show up as an attractive option for any same pilot; and
  • there is no space to ‘hide behind’ an ideology that does violence to the ‘truth’ of the situation – the structure of this game is such that any significant lack of attunement with the ‘truth’ of the situation will lead to visible disaster and those held responsible will pay a public price.

Are large-established organisations in attunement with the ‘truth’ of the situation?

What accounts for the rampant malfunction, even outright failure, when it comes to large-established organisations? I say that it is a lack of ongoing attunement with the ‘truth’ of the situation. Put differently, it occurs to me that the first and most serious casualty of organisational life is the ‘truth’ of the situation; the ‘truth’ of the situation is moulded so as to speak-pander to the interests of the powerful and to conform to the reigning ideology.

Perhaps, there is no greater challenge for those who aspire to be leaders and who fill leadership positions then calling forth and truly listening to the ‘truth’ of the situation: seeing ‘reality’ in the nude – naked of personal interest and the dominant ideology.

How to illustrate, make concrete, that which I have been talking about here?  How to give it flesh and bones?  Let’s revisit the latest news on the NHS. Here is what jumped out at me from a piece (NHS-on-brink-of-crisis-because-it-became-too-powerful-to-criticise.htmlin the Telegraph newspaper:

THE NHS should not be treated as a “national religion” while millions of patients receive a “wholly unsatisfactory” service from GPs and hospitals, the official regulator has warned.

David Prior, the chairman of the Care Quality Commission, said the health service had been allowed to reach the brink of crisis because it was “too powerful” to be criticised.

He said parts of the NHS were “out of control” because honest debate about the weaknesses of the health service was not tolerated.

… he said. “When things were going wrong people didn’t say anything. If you criticised the NHS – the attitude was how dare you?”…..

Mr Prior suggested that the “target culture” imposed by Labour a decade ago fundamentally damaged the culture of the NHS, creating a “chillingly defensive” operation in which the truth was often sacrificed. “The whole culture of the NHS became so focused on targets that it obscured what real quality was about,” he said. “The voice of the patient wasn’t in those targets.”

He said many hospitals needed radical reform.

And finally

Is it just many hospitals that need radical reform?  It occurs to me that many organisations need radical reform. It occurs to me that our whole way of life requires radical reform. It occurs to me that our fundamental way of being-showing up in the world requires reform.

Where to start? It occurs to me that, at an ‘organisational’ level, a great place to start is to create a context which call forth an enquiry into, and a grappling with, the ‘truth’ of the situation from all of the actors who find themselves in or impacted by the situation.

When it comes to Customer Service, Customer Focus, Customer Experience, CRM, Customer Obsession, a great place to start with is the question, “Do we REALLY want to play this game, play it full out? Are we willing to do what it takes to EXCEL at this game?”

I say excellence in the game of cultivating meaningful customer relationships and excelling at the Customer Experience is an ongoing attunement to the ‘truth’ of the situations as experienced-lived by the Customer.  This kind of attunement takes more than customer surveys or mystery shopping. I say these mechanisms are merely ‘defence mechanism’ – ways of avoiding what it truly takes to be attuned to the ‘truth’ of the situation as lived by the Customer.

Customer Experience: What Can We Learn From An Organisation That Kills It’s Customers?

I am coming out of my self imposed August retirement to write about something that calls to me, deeply. And to share with you insights and learnings which show up for me as being valuable if you are up for improving service, orchestrating a caring customer experience, and improving organisational effectiveness.

What can we learn from an organisation that kills its customers?

The NHS is more than an organisation it is an institution. Like the BBC, it used to be an institution that was held in affection and even revered. It was an organisation and institution to be proud of. It is also an institution that has been draining resources and has been subjected to the management mindset obsessed with targets, measures and an obsession to drive down costs.  The result? This institution has been killing its customers and driving out employees (managers, doctors, nurses) that raised concerns about the functioning of the organisation and the treatment of customers – the patients.

The Berwick report on patient care and patient safety in the NHS

How does the Berwick Report on patient care and safety begin?  It begins with this assertion:

Place the quality of patient care, especially patient safety, above all other aims.

Engage, empower, and hear patients and carers at all times.

Foster whole-heartedly the growth and development of all staff, including their ability to support and improve the processes in which they work.

Embrace transparency unequivocally and everywhere in the service of accountability, trust and growth of knowledge.

How is this relevant to business and the customer experience?

When I read this opening passage it struck me that the same is true for organisations who genuinely want to compete with the likes of Amazon, USAA, and John Lewis.  As such I have modified this opening passage so that it speaks to business:

Place the quality of customer care, especially the customer experience, above all other aims.

Engage, empower, and hear customers and customer facing employees at all times

Foster whole-heartedly the growth and development of all staff, including their ability to support and improve the processes in which they work.

Embrace transparency unequivocally and everywhere in the service of accountability, trust and growth of knowledge.

Who killed the customers? And what can we learn about what drive organisational behaviour and performance?

When breakdowns occur our temptation, those of us who live in the West and speak the English language, attribute agency and cause to people.  Put differently, we blame people for the breakdowns. In the world of business the blame gets placed on the employees. In the NHS the politicians, the managers and the media have placed the blame on doctors and nurses.

What does the Berwick report say? It says “NHS staff are not to blame.”.  It goes on to say:

Incorrect priorities do damage: other goals are important and the central focus must always be on patients. 

In some instances……clear warning signals abounded and were not heeded, especially the voices of patients and carers. 

Fear is toxic to both safety and improvement.

In the vast majority of cases it is the systems, procedures, conditions, environment and constraints that the NHS staff faced that led to patient safety.

As I read these words my experience working in and consulting with many businesses comes to mind. And I say that these sage words apply equally insightfully to the world of business.

I draw your attention to the assertion “Incorrect priorities do damage”.  And the recommendation that “the central focus must always be on patients.” Now I ask you, is the central focus of your organisation on the needs/concerns of your customers?  And how do the real priorities of your organisation match the talk about customer focus and customer experience?  Is there a big gulf?  That has been the case with the NHS for many years now. The Tops speak the right words, their actions have not been alignment with their words.

What are the recommendations? 

Recognise with clarity and courage the need for wide systemic change.

Abandon blame as tool and trust the goodwill and good intentions of the staff.

Make sure pride and joy in work, not fear, infuse the NHS.

Reassert the primacy of working with patients and carers to achieve healthcare goals.

Use quantitative targets with caution. Such goals do have an important role en route to progress, but should never displace the primary goal of better care.

Recognise the transparency is essential and expect and insist on it.

Let’s rewrite that for business and private sector organisations which genuinely want to excel at the Customer Experience game:

Recognise with clarity and courage the need for wide systemic change if you are to orchestrate and deliver experiences that work for customers and call forth their loyalty.

Abandon blame as tool and trust the goodwill and good intentions of your staff. 

Make sure pride and joy in work, not fear, infuse your workplace even the call-centres. 

Prioritise working with your customers and customer facing staff to achieve your business goals.

Use quantitative targets – like first call resolution, AHT, NPS etc.- with caution. Such goals do have an important role en route to progress, but should never displace the primary goal of taking care of your customers. 

Recognise the transparency is essential and expect and insist on it.

Summing up

Excellence in customer experience is no easy matter for most organisations. What is required is courageous leadership and wide systemic change that involves the entire organisation. It is easy to work on the people. And it is also stupid because organisational performance is driven by the priorities, structure, systems, processes and practices that exist and are maintained by the Tops.

How much VoC work-investment-feedback will it take for your organisation to get off its backside and act?  Honestly, how much of VoC is really eye opening as opposed to already known within the organisation?

Customer Experience: a personal insight into people and organisations (part III)

This third and last post regarding my experience withe UK healthcare system follows on from two earlier posts – Part I and Part II – if you have not read these posts you may want to do so.

Is the situation more important than the personality?

In our default way of being/thinking/acting in the world we make assumptions.  One such assumption is that good people do good stuff, bad people do bad stuff.  In the context of the customer experience we assume that if someone has treated as well then she is caring/good and anyone that does not treat us well we label as bad/uncaring.  Put differently, we attribute how people show up for us to the inherent (and fixed) characteristics of human beings – as individuals and even groups.

What if human behaviour is plastic?  What if the context, the situation, what has gone before plays a more powerful role in shaping/influencing/driving human behaviour than personality?  Social psychologists have shown that the social context is a powerful driver of human behaviour. Think about being a fire alarm going off.  If enough people run for the doors then so does everyone else and vice versa.  Yet, it is not just the social context the influences human behaviour.  The same person can act very differently depending on his/her state, allow me to share an example with you.

I met up with Dr P three times.   The first time she was totally present, she listened attentively, she examined me, she ordered a battery of tests, she assured me.   The second time I consulted her, to follow up on the same matter, she showed up pretty much the same way.  On both of these occasions I walked away grateful.  So how is it that on the third visit, I left with the feeling that Dr P had not really listened to me, was not really present and the consultation occurred as wasted time, a disappointment?  What was the difference?  On this third occasion Dr P was ‘tied up in knots’, was wrestling with her ‘own demons’ and so simply went through the motions with me.  How do I know?  I saw her run after a patient whilst this patient walked out of her surgery telling Dr P that she felt that she was not being taken seriously by Dr P.  And Dr P started my consultation by apologising for keeping me waiting for 30 minutes and mentioned that she had a difficult patient to deal with.

My broader observation is that the people who showed up as being the most caring were the people who showed up as not ‘running around having lots of stuff to do at the same time’ and those who were ‘happy in themselves’ and the ‘task that they were engaged in’.  The implication is clear:

  • if you want your people to take good care of your customers then you have to take good care of your people; and
  • before you leap to conclusion on the ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ of a member of staff, or a group of employees, take a good look of the context (the broader situation including the environment) that gives rise to the being/doing of these folks.

There is world of difference between efficiency and cost-cutting

There is relentless demand on the UK’s healthcare system.  That is simply what is so. To deal with the costs associated with this demand the UK government has resorted to ‘making efficiencies’.  To make a system efficient is a really difficult task, it requires intimate knowledge of the system and the context in which this system is embedded.  This means that the most productive approach is for the right outsiders to work with broad range of people on the inside of the system to identify ‘waste’ and let go of the practices that generate this waste and to come up with smarter ways of doing the value added work.  It even requires grappling with the what really constitutes ‘value added’ and ‘waste’ – from multiple perspectives.

So it is no surprise that ‘making efficiencies’ within the healthcare system is code for ‘cost cutting’.  This is the kind of thinking where each departmental head gets told to make an x% cut in the budget.  In the UK healthcare system this seems to involve cutting the number of beds, replacing experienced people with less experienced people, splitting work that was one done by one role into multiple roles, outsourcing to the cheapest supplier……..  And importantly, it means that the customers and people on the front lines pay the price.

The customer pays the price in numerous ways.  Some of the burden is shifted on to the customer e.g. lack of beds means that customers are expected to find relatives/friends to take them hope and look after them when they should be in hospital.  Hospitals outsource their car parks to companies and the cost of car parking keeps rising.  When you are in pain waiting to be treated do you, the customer, really want to / are in a position to worry about finding the change to pay for the parking meter and so forth.  It simply takes more effort and more time to get things done…….

The front line staff pay the price of this ‘shifting of the burden’ onto fewer people.  How?  It is these front line people (nurses, doctors) who are under the strain of customer unfriendly policies, poor staffing practices, insufficient resources, fragmentation……  If you have studied systems and systems thinking then you will find that ‘shifting the burden’ is one of the classic/core systems archetypes.

In the long run cost-cutting is wasteful.  The ‘savings’ and/or ‘profits’ of today have to be paid for tomorrow – just thinking about the banks and the financial crisis.  What makes sense at the local level rarely makes sense at the level of the entire system.  What makes sense in the short-term rarely makes sense in the longer term.  Unfortunately, to be human is to be biassed, by default, to the local and to the short-term.  So we deliberately put in practices that penalise local and short-term, reward holistic and long term orientation, or we pay the price of our ‘stupidity’.

Fragmentation leads to a poor customer experience and higher costs

The central issue with the healthcare system is that if you were designing it from scratch you would not put in place that which is in place.  The whole system is riddled with fragmentation and the ‘waste’ that occurs as a result of fragmentation.  Let me give you just one example. When I woke up from my endoscopy I had three questions:

  • What did you find?
  • What is the ‘disease’ and how serious is it, what implications does it have for me?
  • What can you do about it?

I did not get these answers.  I did not get an opportunity to speak with the Consultant.  Instead the nurse told me that I was bleeding on the inside, that some part of my colon was inflamed and that a piece of it had been taken and would be sent for testing.  And finally, that I would get a follow up appointment within 4 weeks.    The two page document that summarised the procedure and findings that the nurse handed me was written in ‘medicalese.  What did I do?  I ended up going to seem my GP to get answers. Was she able to give me the answers?  No. The two page document was no clearer to her than it was to me.  This is just one example of where the hospital looking after its own interests has shifted the burden (and cost) to another part of the healthcare system.

And finally

The lever to make a fundamental impact on the system at hand usually lies outside of the system.  The most powerful way of reducing costs and driving up efficiency is to to do the following:

  • study the demand in detail – what drives it, what is ‘failure demand’, what form does it take….?
  • reduce the ‘failure demand’ – demand falling on the system because one or more parts of the system failed the customers;
  • reduce demand through policies and practices that encourage better health in the population;
  • find smarter ways of doing what needs (‘value demand’) to be done including involving/making use of customer – this means thinking in terms of the whole (as opposed to the parts) and of flow (as opposed to unit costs.

And that in turn requires leadership.  It occurs to me that whilst there is an abundance of manager and management there is a dearth of leadership within the UK healthcare system. A key facet of leadership  is to unleash the potential/passion of people to co-create a future that moves-touches-inspires-uplifts us.  Does the same issue plague the business world?  I’ll let you decide.

Customer Experience: a personal insight into people and organisations (part I)

Over the last four weeks or so I have touched and been touched by the ‘medical system’ in the UK – in particular my doctor’s medical practice and the NHS (national health service).  I want to share with you the key insights that opened up for me on people and organisations.

Women show up as being more caring than men

Women as a whole whether in the role of receptionist, ‘blood taker’, nurse, trainee nurse or doctor simply show up as being more caring.  In their being and in their doing they transcend the merely functional – the task.  They put their humanity into the encounter – they smile, they strike up a conversation beyond the merely functional, they reassure, they do more than is necessary.  The men, as a whole, focussed on their area of expertise and the task at hand.  They are distant.  They stand farther away (afraid to get close), they don’t smile, they are matter of fact, they focus on the task, time is clearly of the essence as they are keen to move on to the next person, the next job.     There are exceptions.  One female receptionist was particularly cold, clinical and showed up as being disconnected from even a thread of humanity. On the other hand Dr Jeremy Platt is almost always smiles and greets me warmly and takes the time that is necessary.

Insight.  If we genuinely want our organisations to ‘touch’ our customers so that we show up as caring and thus create a space for emotional bonds to show up and form then this challenge has to be addressed.  Men, as a whole, are one dimensional – functional.  Either they are emotionally illiterate – that is to say that they are not in touch with their caring emotions or the cultures/communities they are embedded in do not give them permission to express their caring emotions.  I suspect it is combination of these two factor – their is a lack of permission to show caring as this shows up as ‘soft’ and over time men lose touch with these soft emotions.

Question/Challenge.  If the Tops got to the top by being ‘macho’ and ‘functional’ then how likely is it that these people will undergo a transformation and embody the softer emotions, values and associated practices which are the key to showing up as caring?  Perhaps they will take the Steve Jobs approach – build that caring into the product.  Or they will take the Amazon approach: build that ‘caring’ tone into the design of the operations.  Yet, these approaches are not enough in services heavy industries where people (the employees) are the product, the experience and there is intimate contact between the customer and the employees.

The people on the front line can show up as ‘robotic’ and ‘inhuman’ because they perceive themselves to be powerless

I turn up at the scheduled 8am appointment for the endoscopy.  Pain is present – that is the reason that I am there, to figure out what is the cause of the pain.  The nurse ‘sells’ me on taking the right course of action – taking the sedative as it will relax me.  I agree, I tell her I am in pain and so the sedative is the right way to go.  Then she asks me who will be coming to pick me up and take me home.  I tell her that my wife cannot pick me up until 3pm and that if I am well enough to go home earlier then I plan to use my favourite taxi firm to get me home.  She responds by saying that she cannot offer me a sedative unless I have a family member to take me home and look after me for the next 24 hours – that is the hospital policy.  I say “If you are not going to give me a sedative then you are not going to give me sedative. I am ok with that.”  Except that I am not really OK with that.

Later the Consultant- the specialist who is going to do the endoscopy – comes to see me with the nurse trailing behind.  He asks me some questions, I answer.  Then he asks me why I have chosen not to have the sedative.  I tell him that I want the sedative and I have been told that I cannot have it.  And I tell him the reasoning.  He tells the nurse that he will be giving me the sedative as that is the right course of action given the pain I am in and the procedure involved.  He tells her to find me a bed.

Instantly the whole being of the nurse changes.  It is clear that ‘God’ has spoken and his command must be obeyed without question, no excuse will suffice.  She tells the doctor that she will ring around several wards and that she is confident that she can find me a bed in a specific ward.   There is no doubt in her voice, absolute confidence.  She leaves and several minutes later she comes back and tells me that she has found a bed for me.  I am amazed at the instant/profound change in this nurse.  It occurs to me that she is happy/proud at what she has accomplished; she has a big smile on her face and her tone of voice is different.

What is going on here?  For the better part of 20 minutes or so this nurse showed up as robotic – going through the motions, following the script and preaching policy, ignoring my needs and the right thing to do, even changing her advice 180 degrees.  Then the Consultant shows up, tells her what she needs to do and instantly there is a new human being in front of me: confident-resourceful-helpful as opposed to helpless and robotic.

What made the difference?  I say she was given permission from THE authority figure to bypass policy and put her knowledge, her resourcefulness, her caring into action.   I say that the Consultant showed up and instantly changed the context from which the nurse was operating from:  from be a good robot/ follow the script/procedure to here is challenge/make it happen.  Furthermore, the nurse was absolved from responsibility and blame – she was simply following orders.  Which reminds of the Miligram experiments in obedience to authority.

Insight.  When we look at poorly performing front line employees the tendency of managers, management consultants and the training industry is to assume that the fault, the deficiency, lies in the front line employees.  In short we have an automatic bias.  This reminds me of the story of the drunk looking for his lost car keys under the street lamp when he had lost them somewhere else.  The smarter place to start looking for performance issues is in the context/the environment/the ‘system’ in which the front line employees are embedded and operating from.  That means facing the reality:  in about 95% of cases ‘poor employee performance’ shows up because it is the natural, inevitable, result of the assumptions/prejudices of the Tops and the ‘system’ that they have designed, actively or passively, to cater for those assumptions/prejudices.  Let me put it bluntly, if you want to drive up performance and the customer experience then focus on the managers, the management style, the organisation design.  That is where the real leverage is for step changes in organisational performance, customer experience and customer loyalty.

And finally

I will continue to share my insight with you in the follow up post – part II will be coming soon.  If you are up for it then I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Some of you have been kind enough to enter into a conversation with me by commenting.  You will have found me wanting – I have been lax in responding to your comments.  I ask for your forgiveness, my excuse if there is one is simply that the last four weeks or so have been a struggle:  the body, my health is not showed up as being my own.


Reflection on society and the state of the patient experience

How do we treat the old and vulnerable in our hospitals?

To me, the mark of any civilisation is how we as a society treat the vulnerable.  How we treat the vulnerable shows how much we genuinely care for people as human beings rather than economic entities.   And when it comes to vulnerability the old folks in hospital are about as vulnerable as you can get – trust me I have spent quite some time observing how these folks and they way they are treated.  Which is why I am not at all surprised by how badly these folks are treated in the UK.  Here as some highlights from a recent piece in the Guardian newspaper:

  • “Nearly half of hospitals are failing to provide good nutrition to elderly patients while 40% do not offer dignified care..”
  • “At Alexandra hospital staff told how they sometimes had to prescribe drinking water on medication charts to “ensure people get regular drinks”
  • “Inspectors found “meals served and taken to the bedside of people who were asleep or not sitting in the right position to enable them to eat their meal”
  • “At Barnsley hospital, one patient whose nutrition was supposed to be monitored ate only a single spoonful of ice cream for lunch before their tray was cleared”

This is what the Chief Executive of the Patients Association says in this article: “Why is it that patients have to be prescribed water? Water and food are not treatments, they are a basic human right. Helping patients with food and water is not a try-to-do, it is a fundamental part of essential care”.

Ask yourself: what kind of system delivers this outcome?  Is is simply a question of not enough staff on the ward?  Or is it more: a system in which the ‘human touch’ has been driven out and replaced with stuff like targets, tasks, forms, checklists, outsourcing to reduce costs….?  Whatever you decide, it is clear that the system is not designed to care for the patient and his/her wellbeing. It is a system in which there as so many players (each player doing his thing) that no single person has the complete picture of the patient nor the feeling of responsibility for the well-being of patients.  It is a system where the people at the top claim and possibly believe that they are treating the patient/the customer well.  Whilst the people at the coal face only make the targets (set by the people at the top) by not paying attention to the needs of the patients.   Does this remind you of many commercial organisations where so many functions/people touch the customer and yet no-one owns the customer experience nor is responsible for the health of the relationship?

Are we using technology to dehumanize (one another) rather than enhance the human touch?

“For all the promise of digital media to bring people together, I still believe that the most sincere, lasting powers of human connection come from looking directly into someone else’s eyes, with no screen in between” [Howard Schultz]

As a society we are in love with technology and we are under the illusion that information technologies can and should  replace the human touch.  This is not a harmless illusion – it has a real impact on our relationships with each other: between employees; between the people in the business and the customer; between the doctors and their patients… You might have read about the research (and real life horror stories) that show that human babies shrivel up, under develop and even die in the absence of human touch.  Is it any different for adults?

Abraham Verghese spells out the importance of human touch and ritual to the well-being of patients in the following video.  I urge you to watch it as the story that he shares sheds light on the human condition and provides lessons on how we treat one another.

What are the lessons for Customer Experience?

Just in case you did not watch the video here are some of Abraham Verghese’s words and my commentary on those words:

  • “The patient in the bed has almost become an icon for the real patient who is in the computer.  I have coined a term for that entity I call it the iPatient. The iPatient has getting wonderful care all across over America, the real patient often wonders where is everyone?  When are they going to come by and explain things to me?  Who is in charge?”   There is world of difference between the real customer and what the customer’s record in the marketing database – too many marketers and organisations confuse the two.
  • “There is a real disjunction between the patients perception and our own perceptions as physicians of the best medical care.”   We live out of our own worldview and we want to think well of ourselves so we almost always have biassed view on how well we are doing in terms of looking after our customers and the relationships we have with them.  Often we confuse convenience and the repeat transactions that it drives with customer loyalty founded on an enduring emotional bond.
  • “To often rounds look like this where discussion is taking place in a room far away from the patient.   The discussion is all about images on the computer, data, and the one critical piece missing is the patient.”  I witness many discussions about customers and/or the voice of the customer and yet I notice that no customers are present and neither is there voice.   How many have set-up a dedicated platform to allow customers a voiceHow many executives actually spend time with real customers and walking in the shoes of these customers?  Numbers, analytics, can never substitute for nor provide access to that which is fundamentally human and which comes alive through human touch.  If numbers is your thing and not people then go and run an investment fund not a business: a business is all about people. 

A final thought

Would it make any difference to human relationships and the way that we conduct business if we remembered and acted on the following insight:

“You never know what is going on in people’s lives when you serve them. For all you know it could be someone’s last day on earth.”  (Onward, p187)